I don’t know about you but in spite of 2005 being a good year for me personally, I’m happy to see it go.

What a year we had! In addition to the Iraq thing continuing on we had a horrible tsunami, a huge earthquake, terrorist bombings, and a couple of major hurricanes and the associated floods.

For me, I lost a couple of friends but I suppose I need to expect that at this age. However, my own health has been good and my personal relationships seem great. I’ve met some new friends via my blog and the coming year looks as though it could be the best I’ve ever had.

But 2005, there’s the door and don’t let it hit you in the rear when you go out.

I am wishing a wonderful 2006 for all of you.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 31, 2005



A couple of weeks ago we received a letter from our power company. It announced they were going to upgrade a transformer on our street and we would be without electricity from 8 AM to 3 PM. Of course, this struck terror in our hearts. What would we possibly do to go almost a whole day without electricity? Think about it! No lights to read by. No electricity to cook with. No hot water and, of course, no computer. We needed to make plans.

It was finally decided to keep a morning appointment we had and then go to some restaurant that had electricity and have lunch. After that there was the possibility of going shopping or even attending a movie, which we haven’t done in years.

The power didn’t actually go off until 8:30. I looked outside and saw two huge trucks from the power company almost in front of our house. I didn’t go out to see what they were doing but the power came back on about 20 minutes later. Then I looked outside and the trucks were gone and there was no further interruption of power. It seemed strange that we were notified to be prepared for doing without electricity for 7 hours and it turned out to be only 20 minutes.

I thought about it and finally concluded it might have gone something like this.

“Okay, Harry, let’s get started.”
“Right, you get the transformer out of the truck.”
“Why do I have to get the transformer out of the truck?”
“All right, I’ll get the transformer out of the truck. Hand me the wrench.”
“What wrench?”
“The wrench for taking the transformer out of the truck.”
“Oh. Where is the wrench for taking the transformer out of the truck?”
“ I don’t know. You were supposed to bring the wrench for taking the transformer out of the truck.”
“Nobody told me I was supposed to bring the wrench for taking the transformer out of the truck.”
“How did you think we could do this if we didn’t get the transformer out of the truck?”
“I don’t know. That’s not my job.”
“Well, I guess we need to go back and get the wrench for taking the transformer out of the truck.”
“Shall we turn on the electricity again?”
“It’s not my job to turn the electricity on again.”
“It’s not mine either but let’s do it anyway and get out of here.”
“Good idea. How do you get back to the garage?”
“I don’t know. I thought you knew.”

And so forth.

That was not an actually transcript of what happened but definitely a possible explanation.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 30, 2005



These days there are many who seem to object to using the word “Christmas”.

Well, the Old Professor often takes advantage of the “Old” part by doing whatever he pleases irrespective of what others may think or do. So today I wish all my blog friends a very merry Christmas.

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

December 25, 2005

December 25, 2005



There is a veteran female TV Investigating Reporter named Barbara Walters. She produced a 2-hour program called something like “Heaven. Where Is It? How Do We Get There?” She interviewed many people representing many religions and had them present their concept of Heaven and how we get there. As you might guess, opinions were lacking in any uniformity.

However, I did get a chuckle when she interviewed one particular lady. This lady was a widow who had lost her husband 32 years ago. They were both 40 years old at that time and she is now 72 and has never remarried. Her idea of Heaven is that Tom will be waiting there and they will greet each other lovingly.

That seemed to be a pretty good idea, except for one thing. She forgets that, for the past 32 years, Tom has been in Heaven bopping around with Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner and all those other deceased Hollywood sex goddesses. (That may be why they call it “Heaven”) Also, I imagine one doesn’t age in Heaven so when she shows up she will find 40 year old Tom, probably watching a football game on a giant-size TV with a couple of super-models hanging on him and a couple more in the heavenly kitchen making a pizza for him. He will look up and wonder why he should he interested in this 72-year old woman.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 23, 2005



It has arrived – I think.

I’ve always wondered about “senility”.  I wondered if it ever caught up with me, would I know it.
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
This morning I went to the Veterans Administration clinic for my regular eye checkup.
This is something that with anyone with a history of diabetes should do regularly.
I showed up for my appointment at exactly the right time.
And it was the correct day.
There was only one thing wrong – and it was a minor thing – it was the wrong year.
I was one year early, to the minute.

I can’t believe I showed up for an appointment a year early!  I didn’t find that exact symptom listed in the description of “senility” but I’ll bet it’s in some medical dictionary someplace.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 19, 2005 (I think)



Most people who know me are aware that I am hopelessly addicted to gadgets. Any kind of a thing that will do something I didn’t know could be done has me hopelessly hooked. How many people do you know who bought a wire recorder? How many people do you know who even know what a wire recorder is? They appeared briefly around 1946 and I bought one. Almost as soon as I did tape recording was introduced and I was stuck with a museum piece.

But last week I reached a peak. We bought a new car and it does so many fancy things I may not live long enough to discover them all. We now own a white, 2006 Toyota Prius with all the extras available.

Not only is this a really great car, it amazes me constantly. Just this morning I “taught” it to activate my garage door opener by pushing on a little button on the frame of the rear-view mirror. By the way, that mirror automatically dims if there are bright headlights behind me.

One of the first things about this machine is that it is keyless. I have a plastic thing I keep in my pocket and as I approach the car the door unlocks, I get in and push a start button. That’s it.

The first startling thing that happens is when I start to back out of the garage. There is a small screen, about 6 inches, and it shows what is behind me in full color. This small camera is activated anytime the car is in reverse. This will keep me from backing over small children unless I really want to.

High on my list of “Oh Wow” things is the navigation system. That little 6-inch screen and a kind female voice seem to be able to guide me anywhere I want to go. I merely enter an address and it seeks out several routes, asks me which one I want and then leads me, step by step. I have my home address stored so I can push the Home Button and it will get me home from anywhere I happened to be.

Here is a list of the options we received (purchased):
Package #8 -- includes driver and front passenger front seat-mounted side and front and rear side curtain airbags [2], anti-theft system and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink® [5] universal transceiver, Smart Key System, backup camera [3], Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) [4], High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and integrated fog lamps, JBL® AM/FM 6-disc in-dash CD changer with nine speakers in seven locations, auxiliary audio jack, MP3/WMA playback capability and hands-free phone capability via Bluetooth® [6] wireless technology, voice-activated DVD navigation system [7], and leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel
So, I must be off now to see if I can figure out how my car communicates with my cell phone using Bluetooth wireless technology. It’s supposed to.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 15, 2005



This morning we visited a cardiologist (heart doctor) as a routine follow-up of an angiogram Jen-Chi had recently. All was well but I did compliment the doctor on the Christmas wreath he had on the front door.

It was in the shape of a heart.

You know, heart doctor/heart wreath.
You see the connection?

At no time did I mention proctologist or gynecologist.

My mother would have been so proud of me.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 6, 2005



In 1958 the Eastman Kodak Company introduced an adhesive substance with an acrylate base to the public. They called it Superglue and it truly was.

Now we mostly see it as Krazy Glue and it’s advertised to glue almost anything together, including fingers and, from what I’ve read, other body parts. I also understand it’s often used medically in place of stitches.

As far as I have ever been able to tell, this product is almost perfect. It has one glaring weakness. I’m sure most of you have done this: You open the Krazy Glue tube and use the drop or two you need. Then you close the tube and the adhesive goes to work so that you can never open it again. So the Krazy Glue people came up with this:

A package of 4 single-use tubes! Use one and throw it away!

I wish I had thought of that.

The Old Professor
December 5, 2005

By the way, there are many web sites that will give you advice on what to do if you do accidentally glue yourself to some undesirable thing. One of the best is the Krazy Glue web site.



Yesterday I put my regular Old Prof website on hold for some indefinite time. I called it being “on leave”, a sabbatical of sorts. The site will still be there but for now I will not be making any additions or changes

I am now going to attempt to create a new web site in honor of my late son, Michael. Some of you may recall the blog I wrote called My Son The Rock Singer.

I plan on trying to make some of his music available for listening online and/or downloading. Since I am rather inexperienced at this (to say nothing of being old) it may be some time before it’s ready so, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I’ll still post my blogs here so you will know what’s going on in the Old Professor’s crazy world.

If you would like me to notify you when Michael’s music is ready, please-mail me at OldProf@OldProf.com.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 3, 2005



Here is a safety warning. Heed it and save yourself much pain.

We had a mouse or mice in our garage. Repeated attempts using various devices failed to even slow the problem down. We used glue traps, safety traps and even had one where that is like a little house and the mouse crawls in for some reason and can’t get out. Our high IQ mouse wasn’t interested in any of these except to eat the bait and probably laugh a lot.

So I decided to go to the old-fashioned mouse trap. You know, the one with the spring that humanely snaps on the mouse’s neck.

I decided to also get the rat trap also which is the same thing only larger.

I read the instructions even though I felt they were obvious.
1. Place bait inside curl found at end of bait pedal. Remove excess bait protruding from pedal.
2. Pull back bow and hold down with thumb.
3. With other hand, engage curved portion of the locking bar under small, V-shaped lip on bait pedal.
4. Place trap against wall with bait pedal facing the wall.
I decided to put 2 mouse traps on my work bench and the larger trap on the floor at the base of the bench.

I set the rat trap first.

Now notice, nowhere do the instructions even hint that one should wear safety shoes or at least not wear soft-top sneakers. Also, it didn’t even hint that one should not step on the trap after it’s set.
So, my first safety tip is to set the trap on the floor last, just before you are leaving or, if, for some reason, you need to do it first, do not step on it. It probably wouldn’t be too bad if it was the smaller mousetrap but that giant rat trap will definitely sting.

Take my word for that.

Additionally, it does not say anything about not letting your finger get under the snap wire ,they call “the bow”, in case it does decide to go off accidentally. I wish they had mentioned this.

Hypothetically, if you do let the rat trap snap on the tip of your left index finger you will find it hurts like hell and almost immediately turns purple making you look like a Iraqi who just voted for the first time. You then will need to get some ice on it. You will spend a rather sleepless night and the next day you will need to go to a drug store to buy a guard to protect the end of the finger because it will really hurt when you bump it on anything.

So, my second safety tip is to not let any part of any finger get anywhere near the snap wire.

Take my word for that.

I have no bad feeling toward the company that manufactures this devilish device and I do not plan on suing them. However, as soon as my finger heals I do plan on writing this blog to warn the world of these inadequately labeled devices.

I would also suggest that anyone owning stock in this mouse trap company seriously consider some other investment. This thing can’t last for long.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 1, 2005



I’m beginning to wonder about the United States Postal System.
They recently announced an increase in the cost of first class mailing. A stamp, which now cost 37 cents, will cost 39 cents starting in January.
Okay, perhaps this in no big deal but a trip to my mailbox yesterday made me wonder.
In one day we received 13 catalogs! Most of these were from companies we had never heard of and had certainly never done business with.
Why doesn’t the Postal service increase the cost of delivering that unwanted mail?  They probably have but in my opinion they should increase it more and keep increasing it until there is room in my mailbox for mail I want to receive.

That should work.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 26, 2005



A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about a cat who had appeared at our place and then disappeared. Those of you who are cat lovers probably knew this would happen but I didn’t. The cat has reappeared.

It’s hard to miss this cat because it sits outside a sliding glass door and goes “M-E-O-W“ almost continuously. At least it sounded like M-E-O-W to me.

Last night Jen-Chi had prepared a dish of leftover chicken plus some leftover salmon for the cat to eat next time it appeared. That was this morning. I got up early to go for my wog and the cat was there M-E-O-Wing so I put the bowl in front of it. The cat took one sniff and walked away all the time saying, “M-E-O-W”.

The more I thought about it I don’t think the cat was saying, "M-E-O-W" at all. I listened carefully and I’d swear it was calling, “M-E-N-U, M-E-N-U.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 23, 2005



There was a time, many years ago, where I, as a struggling schoolteacher, worked all kinds of extra jobs to make enough money make ends meet. I even took a crack at selling. I worked for a company that sold food-freezer plans. This is where the customer would purchase frozen meat and vegetables in large quantities thereby saving enough to make the payments on the freezer.

I had never done any selling so the company sent me out with an experienced salesman and I observed as he sold five freezers without having one turndown. I seemed easy enough. Then I went out on my own and made some incredibly good deals but didn’t sell any in seven attempts. Not even one.

I knew I was doing something wrong. So, I went to the library and took out three books on salesmanship. I was amazed to learn the subtle little things that can be done to entice a sale. I then went out and sold seven in a row.

My point is this; I think everyone should read a book on how to become a salesperson. After all, the whole idea of selling is getting another person to see things the way you want them to see it and there are definite techniques for doing this. You can even see them when they are being applied to you or someone else.

Here’s what made me think of this today. A couple of days ago I was in my dentist’s aptly named “waiting room.” The dentist came to the receptionist and said something like, “Mrs. Watson has broken her upper plate. We are sending it over to the lab. Call the lab and tell them it’s a clean break and see if there’s someway they can get it done tomorrow.”

I listened as the receptionist called.
She said, “This is Dr. So and So’s office. We are sending Mrs. Watson’s upper plate over. It’s a clean break and we wonder what time tomorrow morning she could pick it up. Ten o’clock? That will be fine.”

Wow! I was impressed. If she had asked, “When will she be able to pick it up?” I’m sure the answer would involve explaining how busy they were right now.

That was a great demonstration of what salesmanship is. And that was a good thing.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 22, 2005



Just in case you didn’t know, today is November 21, 2005. Did you know there are only 34 days until Christmas? That may not seem significant because you know that is still 816 hours from now and 816 hours is a long time.
Of course, you still have 48,960 minutes to get your shopping done and that’s almost 3,000,000 seconds.
So, what’s the hurry?
You’ve got lots of time – if you count the seconds.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 21, 2005



To me it’s amazing that my wogging provides me with so much time where I have to do nothing but think. Once in a great while I solve some problem. This morning was one of those days.

For some time I have wondered about the actual difference between walking and jogging. Is a person who walks fast actually jogging? Is a jogger who jogs slowly actually walking? No, there’s more to it than that.

It’s the arms.

If you notice when people are walking they let their arms hang down at their sides, possibly swinging them a bit. Then notice the jogger. Hands are raised and the arms are bent to form an approximate right angle.

I had never thought of this before but decided I will attempt to modify of my behavior. When I go do my morning thing at the track I plan on having my arms extend straight down, or at least nearly so.

That way it’s possible I’ll overhear someone say, “Look how fast that old man is walking”, instead of, “Look how slow that old man is jogging”.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 19, 2005



I notice more and more people seem to be getting into running in a marathon. That’s more than 26 miles! I understand in early November there were more than 80,000 people who ran in the New York City Marathon. I never quite understood why people did that but I had a little insight this morning when I was doing my usual wogging at the track. There’s no way I could run, or even wog, 26 miles. However, I can easily wog one mile and I do at least that every morning. At the end of a month I have done quite a bit more than 26 miles.

I suppose it’s like most other things that happen when a person gets old. It’s still possible to do it; it just takes longer.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 18, 2005



There are a few things in life that I have become very good at doing.  Sleeping is one.  Ordinarily I have no trouble at all going to sleep and either staying asleep or waking and going back to sleep easily. Last night was an exception. At least I hope it was.
For no reason at all I woke up around 3AM and didn’t immediately go back to sleep.  To take care of the rare times this might occur I keep a small AM-FM radio, with earphones, near my bed.  I decided to listen to a Public Broadcasting System station that was carrying the feed from BBC (British Broadcasting System).  Ordinarily that is boring enough to put me back to sleep in seconds but last night I happened to tune in on the results of several cricket matches.  A man spoke as though he was an earthling but he strung together words that made no sense to me.  This was frustrating enough to keep me awake so I switched to the AM radio band.
Now, this is 3AM, Sunday morning.  Apparently most radio stations do not want to shut down even though there are few listeners. Perhaps it’s too difficult to get up and running again, I don’t know. The way many stations have solved this problem is to have a “Call In Show”.  That’s where there’s a person who invites listeners to call in and discuss just about anything. This is in California but even here that’s a strange thing to do. It is certain to attract some very strange people.  In fact, some of the hosts (the people receiving the calls) are strange people.  I listened to one female who pleaded for someone to call, anyone, talk about anything. She said she would be on the air for 5 hours!
Now add this to the equation.  In California the bars close at 2AM.  When listening to the people who call in, it’s difficult to guess if they have just come home from a long evening at the bar or is they are one of those who enjoy getting an early start to their drinking.  Most of the discussions had some kind of theme and later in the day I’m sure most of the callers will regret their participation – if they remember calling at all.
Ah, California at 3AM. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 14, 2005


Surely I can't be the only one who noticed this.

Two days after Katrina finished battering in New Orleans President Bush appeared on television and said, "I take full responsibility...” Of course, he was referring to the terrible manner which the federal government handled the relief situation.

A short time later another hurricane, Nina, ripped through Florida.  This time the president's brother, Jebb Bush, went on television and announced to the world that he, "took full responsibility" for the difficulties people were going through.

Jump forward another month or so and the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, proposed several issues to be placed on a ballot for a public election.  He had anticipated the voters would support his proposals.  On the contrary, the voters rejected every single one of his ideas.  Two days later he appeared on television and guess what he said.

"I take full responsibility"

He explained he had thought the voters would support his thinking and therefore had placed these issues on the November ballot.  It's estimated that this special in election cost between $50 and $60 million and even though he made no suggestion as to how that money should be made up, he did take "full responsibility."

Do you begin to see a pattern here?  I think it goes back to the White House when the president asked for advice on what to do about the Katrina's mess.  Probably someone said, “Just take the full responsibility, what can they do to?  You're the President.”  So he tried it and it worked.  Then his brother tried it and it worked again.  Now it seems to be a simple phrase that explains everything.

As I recall, it didn't work that way when I was working.  If something was fouled up and someone was determined to be fully responsible, that person was soon seeking another job.  I'm sure the rules haven't been changed, especially for the common man.  Maybe in government it's different.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 13, 2005



A couple of nights ago we had one of those emergency medical things involving My Lady having some heart problems. This necessitated my calling the paramedics and transporting her to the Emergency Room of the hospital in the middle of the night.  The medical problem eventfully was taken care of fine but there were a few interesting adventures along the way.

Once she was settled into a room it was decided she needed to have her chest x-rayed so a young man wheeled a portable unit into her room.  I stood beside the bed to assist and after he got her into the proper position he made a motion for me to step back.  I knew about x-rays having the power to render a person sterile so I stepped back just in case I want to have children someday.

He motioned me to step back farther. I did.

He motioned again and this time I was really far away.

He heaved a sigh and walked towards me still motioning. When he got close he whispered, “You pants are open. Zip up.”



In the late 1940s there were many silly things going on. One of the longer lasting ones was a song and a dance that was primarily for children but it caught on as a fad with adults too. It was called The Hokey Pokey. The lyrics went like this:
You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

You put your left foot in,
You put your left foot out;
You put your left foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

Now, many of us believe that after this life we might be in a situation where all will be known to us. I picture a place where I might be able to ask questions that have baffled me all my life.

Wouldn’t it be terrible if I asked, “What was it all about?” and was told The Hokey Pokey explained it all?

That’s’ what it’s all about?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 4, 2005

(If you want to listen to the song and see three dancing penquins go to the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services for the music, lyrics, and the history of the Hokey Pokey.)



With the Iraq death count up to 2,000 now, it is my opinion, and also one shared by many others, that it’s time to take another look at the Iraq situation.

What was it we were told about why we are in Iraq in the first place? Well, the first place doesn’t count. That was either a pack of lies or based on very faulty information. I doubt it was only the latter or we would have been in an, “Oops. I’m sorry.” position and we never were there.

So, why are we in Iraq? Let me see if I have this right.

One: It was necessary to get rid of Saddam Hussein as he was a really bad guy who did really bad things.
Okay, I have no reason to dispute that but we have him now. That part is done. Finished. Next.

Two: It’s necessary to build a democracy to establish a stable Middle East.
Let’s see. Democracy? Hmm. I’ll have to look that up.

Democracy: A system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives

Yah, that’s what I thought it was.
Wasn’t there an election just held in Iraq where the people did express their wishes directly? Why not do it again? Have another election in Iraq. They do it all the time in California. This time have the Iraqi voters respond to one just simple question on the ballot.
Do you want the Occupation Troops to go home? Yes. No.
Of course, not in English like this.
It would be in that chicken scratching writing they seem to like.
After the election shouldn’t we go along in the true spirit of democracy?

I have a feeling the vote would be overwhelming for us to leave. After all, I’m sure the Iraqi parents are getting tired of having their own children added to that even longer list of people killed in action and they certainly wouldn’t blame themselves. That’s not human nature.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 29, 2005



Awhile back I posted a blog that had something to do with my age and my mystification at how could I have arrived at this age (82) with all the longevity rules I violated. I ended with a comment where I hoped it wasn’t intended that I do something great as I was having too much fun doing what I am doing now. I think I may have stumbled onto something I can do that might be great.

Yesterday I went to the Veterans Administration Clinic for my annual eye checkup. I have been diabetic since 1982 and uncontrolled diabetics tend to have eye problems. My exam went great. Though I do now wear eyeglasses my vision has not changed in the last year. They especially dilate the pupils and check carefully behind the eyes for any signs of macular degeneration.

I always hold my breath when they come to that part as my father had that happen to him and I had to watch his vision get worse each day until he was completely blind. He was in his sixties. For me to watch this healthy, active man turn into a listless creature, sitting in a chair staring straight ahead all day, was probably the worst experience of my life. Of course, it was worse for him. Amongst many other things, he never even got to see his grandchildren grow up. It was sad.
But yesterday my eyes checked out fine with no change in the past year.

So where does this “doing something great” come in?
It comes right here, right now.

There have been several thousand people stop by and some may have actually read something I wrote. If I can get one person to read about my father and his method of handling diabetes and if that one person changes something, then I will have done something great. Super-great, if there is such a thing.

You see, my dad was a stubborn man and somehow was convinced that he knew more about diabetes than doctors did. Many times I heard him say, “I have it they don’t.” In those days there was no oral medication but my dad would inject insulin. If he wanted to eat some cake he would just inject a little more insulin. It didn’t work.

Now, why don’t you make me great? If you are diabetic you know what you should do. You don’t like it but you know the drill. Do it and do it every minute of very day.

If you want a sample what will happen if you don’t shape up then try the Old Professor’s test. Just turn off your television set. Now sit in front of it all day and stare at the blank screen. Now imagine doing that for 365 days a year if you are lucky enough to live a year which might be iffy at best.

If by my writing this I might somehow touch one person who will make a change in his or her own or possibly some loved one’s life, I will truly have done something great. Really, really great.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 26, 2005



Do you know about Skype?

If you spend any significant amount of money on long-distance phone calls I hope you know about Skype.
There are several million people who use it regularly.

Skype is a free software program that allows you to converse, using voice, with any other person who has the Skype program installed. Conference calls can be set up too so that more than one person can use Skype at the same time. You also can transfer files while you are talking. I found that to be rather slow but it didn't interfere with the conversation at all.

I have used a couple of other “voice over internet” programs but found them all to be somewhat less satisfactory than the telephone. With Skype I find no difference.

Best of all, it’s completely free unless you opt to get into SkypeIn which allow calls from your computer to any regular telephone or SkypeOut which works globally. There are charges involved with that but they are much less than regular long distance telephone calls.

If you have any need for this at all go to their web site at www.skype.com and download the program. Of course, you will need a microphone and some listening device such as earphones.

Try it. You’ll like it. I promise.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 24, 2005



I see where someone finally won the Powerball Lottery yesterday after 20 previous drawings with no winner.The winner will get approximately 340 million dollars! It’s said the winner, who is unknown at this time, resides in Oregon. At least the winning ticket was sold in Oregon.

I have a daughter, Meggiecat, and she lives in Oregon. I’m hoping she was the winner as I’m sure she could use the money.

In fact, I had actually planned what I would do if I had been lucky enough to have won the money. I would give most of it to her keeping just barely enough to ward off the extra expenses of getting older so I wouldn’t become a burden to my children.

Of course, I would have given this money with no strings attached allowing her to do whatever she pleased with it. After all, it’s her life and she makes her own decisions and will need to live with them the rest of her life.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 20, 2005



I keep seeing these things in the newspaper that everyone else seems to think are perfectly normal.

(If you feel a need you can click above to read the story.)

At a glance I immediately became alarmed as my birthday is in March and I really was hoping to somehow delay it but according to Associated Press, March is no longer preventable.

Well, of course the real story is one about a Peace March that was planned in Toledo, Ohio but ended up with violent gang fights.

Maybe I should read more slowly or at least not jump to conclusions until I’ve read the story. What a radical idea.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 17, 2005



I wonder if it’s just me.(That’s what is known as a rhetorical question and needs no answer so, no matter how strong your feelings may be, please don’t feel compelled to comment on that statement.) Sometimes I glance at some headline I misread it getting a completely different idea from what the writer had in mind.

As an example, yesterday while browsing the MSNBC site I saw this:

Man coughs up screw after operation

It turns out that a man in Belgium had an operation 4 years ago where the doctors put a metal plate in his neck to help mend some damage from an accident.

He said, “I have had a cold for the past few days. I had a terrible cough a few days ago. That’s when I suddenly felt something in my mouth.”

“It turned out to be a screw.”

That certainly was unusual but not as interesting as I thought it would be when I quickly glanced at the headline and saw:

Man coughs and screws up operation

I mean the man coughing might be unusual, not screwing up an operation.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 15, 2005



We have observed a new word quietly creep into everyday use. The word itself isn’t really that new but we seem to hear a lot about “outsourcing” these days. Recently I had a technical problem with my Hewlett-Packard computer and received excellent technical help by phone and I was talking with a technician in India!

I suppose, like most things, it isn’t an “All Good” or “All Bad” situation. However, I think, and I believe most people think, outsourcing should not be done if there are capable people in this country who could perform the same service for the same cost. That’s why I was upset this morning when I saw the headline in our local paper, the Monterey County Herald.
Molester found in Uruguay
Come on now! Are we expected to believe there are no unemployed, or under-employed molesters in our own country so we needed to go to South America to find one? The last I heard there were several in prison and most of them are happy to work for enough money to buy cigarettes at the prison commissary. If they don’t currently exist in prisons then it should be easy enough to set up training programs. After all, how hard can it be?

Just another case of governmental lack of imagination.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 14, 2005



It's been almost 2 years now since I started wogging at the high school track every morning. In the hundreds of times I have circled that track I never have passed anyone. I don't really count that old lady with the aluminum walker because she had fallen and even though she seemed in a little pain I did manage to pass her. But other than that, all kinds of people overtake and go by me every day. Old people, young people, couples chatting, and once even a man who was running backwards.

I have wondered why this is because it seems to me I'm going as fast as I can. I think I may have inadvertently stumbled across the answer. Recently I received advertising in the mail offering to sell me some shoes called "Joggers".
At first I didn't notice but then I saw the shoes had a "New Streamlined Design" that "does away with wind resistance!"
So, I think I now know why everyone has been passing me. They are wearing special shoes. This gives them minimum wind resistance while my shoes are definitely holding me back. All this time I thought it was me. I may give the "Less Wind Resistance" approach a try.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 10, 2005



I have been told the famous Chinese restaurant dish we know as Chop Suey is not a Chinese dish at all. Jen-Chi tells she had never heard of it until she came to America. She told me about taking a cruise to China and arriving in Shanghai to see a huge sign AMERICAN CHOP SUEY RESTAURANT. There is an interesting article exploring this in some depth at this website.

Interestingly (to me) is a dish my mother used to make and I loved. It was ground beef and onions sautéed in a pan. Then it was combined with a can of Campbell'’s Condensed Tomato Soup, right out of the can. To this mixture was added some cooked elbow macaroni. She called it American Chop Suey. I always thought she had invented the dish as well as the name but I see recipes for it on the Internet so I guess I was mistaken.

However, when it comes to naming food, I do know of some originals. We are close to a lady who is married to a man who comes from Italy. At times she serves him what has come to be known as "“Spare Me Spaghetti". That might be as good as another lady who makes what is known as "Shut Up Meatloaf."

As the old proverb goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." I think you are allowed to substitute any food you choose for "pudding".

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 9, 2005



On September 7, 2005 I posted a blog describing my solution to the problem of having neighborhood dogs mistake our front yard as their personal toilet. I made 3 signs like this and posted them. They seem to be working well. The first thing I knew several other people also wanted these signs. This led me to believe there might be commercial possibilities hidden in there somewhere. I thought I might be able to sell them on the Internet, possibly with a special domain name.
As you no doubt know, there is an organization that assigns domain names and keeps them unique. For instance, I have www.oldprof.com and no one else can have that name.
So I looked into registering a name where I might sell my signs. Now, you aren't going to believe this but I swear it's true.
I first started with something simple like www.DogSign.com.
(I've added caps for readability)
That name was already taken.
So I moved it up to www.DogPoopSign.com.
That was taken.
I kept adding to the name until I got to www.NoDogPoopHereSign.com.
I kid you not, that was taken!
However, they offered alternative suggestions. One of them was www.TheFirstNoDogPoopHereSign.com.
That sounded too much like a bank:
The First National Bank of Dog Poop
That's probably taken too.
So, it's back to the drawing board.
Regarding The First National Bank of Dog Poop, A suggestion was made by a reader who uses the name s'mee. "No deposits- only WITHDRAWALS!"
Thank you, s'mee.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 7, 2005



What’s this thing about becoming older?
As I recall, when we were very young and asked certain questions we were told, “You’ll understand when you get older.”
When you wanted to drive car it was, “Someday, when you get older.”
Then you thought it might be nice to vote but were told, “You need to be older.”
You needed to be “older” to be able to go to work and even “older” to retire.
Then, all of a sudden the word “older” disappears.
Now it’s, “old”, as in, “Old people play bingo a lot.” or “Oh, he’s too old” or “You can’t live in that place unless you are old”.
So, I guess this is it. There isn’t any “older” anymore.
There should be a turnaround point somewhere so “old” people could have something to look forward to.
Like, “You can get a motorcycle when you are younger.”
That would be nice.
Not the motorcycle part especially but something new to look forward to.
When the future all looks the same it gets old. Or is it older?



It’s no secret to followers of my blog that I have lost a lot of weight. I brag about it a lot even though I’ve been at my present weight almost three years now. Then this morning I picked up the paper and found one of those “OH NO!” things. According to Associated Press a scientific study links weight loss in older people to oncoming Alzheimer’s Disease.

“A study of more than 800 healthy nuns, priests and monks who were slightly overweight on average showed that those who lost about one unit of body mass index (BMI) a year -- a little more than five pounds (2 kg) or so -- had a 35 percent greater risk of developing Alzheimer's than those with no weight change.

As I read that it says that those who lost five pounds (note the “or so”) had a 35% greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Let’s see, I lost 50 pounds. Does that mean I have a 350% greater risk? I’m not sure.
Where was I?
Oh yes, I remember now.

How about those Red Sox?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 29, 2005



When I was a mere youth it was customary for families to regularly sit down around a table for at least one meal every day. Since there were four children in our family it was also customary that there be at least one frown accompanied with a slow left-right headshake and the often whispered statement, “Not at the table”. This quiet chastisement recently came to my mind when I decided to choose a title for the book I should write.

I have received several letters since I used this blog site to announce I had finally attained my ideal weight by losing about 50 pounds. Each letter wanted to know how I lost the weight or what diet I used. I think I have the answer and it is now set in my mind firmly enough that I can now go ahead and join the millions of others who seem to have written books on various ways to lose weight.

My approach to the problem of weight loss is quite simple. The secret isn’t so much what you do, it’s where you do it. Simply stated, you lose weight at the grocery store. For people who are at all weight conscious and do not come from some other planet, the basics are already known. It’s no secret that pushing sweet stuff and white stuff in your face will not make you thinner. So, drum roll please, do not buy sweet stuff and white stuff! It won’t be around the house and you won’t “accidentally” let a cookie fall into your mouth.

So, simple stated, you lose weight at the grocery store, Not At The Table!©

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 27, 2005



The other day I received a letter from a loyal follower of this blog.

Dear Professor,

I could use your advice. I don’t care much for cats but my wife does. About a week ago a cat showed up at our door and was, apparently, hungry. My wife fed the cat and ever since then it’s been coming back.

How do I get rid of it without upsetting my wife too much?

I’d appreciate any advice you might offer.

Signed, Non-Cat Person in Ohio

Well, thank you for writing, Loyal Follower. I have always been a firm believer in the power of coincidence and, coincidentally, your problem matches mine exactly. So, I will tell you how ours was solved and perhaps it would work for you too.

As in your case a cat appeared and it was hungry. Love of My Life fed the cat some table scraps and gave it some water then it disappeared until the next day when this was repeated. The she got a flea collar, as that was a problem the cat obviously had. After a few days of the cat reappearing, LOL decided she would more or less adopt the cat. The next time she went shopping she bought a dozen cans of cat food and a bag of dry cat food. She also picked up a few cat toys.

Inasmuch as the situation had advanced this far I insisted the cat be taken to the veterinary place and be checked and possibly “fixed”. We didn’t have any way to transport a cat that I was sure would be less than willing to go so I stopped at a pet store and paid about $30 for a “Cat Carrier”.

That was about a week ago and we haven’t seen the cat since. So, it appears the system is to invest a lot of money in things for a cat and then the cat will go away just to annoy you. Somehow they know.

I hope this helps your situation.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 25, 2005

P.S. If anyone needs a Cat Carrier there’s no need to pay $30. I know where you can get one that’s never been used one for less than that and some free cat food could go with it.



I have always felt that “The Forces That Be” must have a sense of humor.

This morning, Friday, September 23, 2005, I can hear the television in the other room. All of the coverage is about Hurricane Rita and problems its impending arrival is causing in the Galveston/Houston area in the state of Texas.

At the same time I am looking at a web page showing "America’s Most Livable Cities”.

This web site is sponsored by a group called Partners For Livable Communities.

I also see this group is having a conference and the web site shows it is to be September 21 – 23, 2005. Guess where! Houston, Texas!

As of this morning it’s impossible to get in or out of Houston or Galveston so, if this meeting did go off on schedule I imagine they will need another meeting to revise the conclusions they came to as a result of the first one.

Ironic, isn’t it?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 23, 2005



There is a web site called Classmates Dot Com. If you go to this web site and indicate your school and class year you will find a list of others who share that class. I went there and found about 30 people from my high school class, most of the names didn’t ring a bell with me at all.

In order to communicate with the others you need to get the Gold Membership, which is $39 for one year.

I decided to try it out, paid the $39 and proceeded to write to others from my high school and also from my college class. In the past year I didn’t receive a single reply from anyone I wrote to or even any information that a message had been sent.

Then yesterday I received an e-mail telling me that since a year had passed the Classmate people were automatically using my credit card to enroll me for another year.

No way Jose!

I wrote a letter of protest and received a prompt reply. The reply was even numbered as “Reply #102-877-094”. It explained in some detail that this had been explained to me when I signed up but as a courtesy they would make a note to not renew it next year.

So, I got burned. Maybe next time I’ll read the fine print. Naw, that won’t happen but maybe you should.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 22, 2005



These days most people go entire lifetime and never actually witness a genuine miracle. I mean a miracle of such proportions that it makes one positive of the existence of a higher power -- one who controls everything. To me this seems strange, as it was a very common thing in days gone by. During the years, say 0003 to 0050, miracles seemed to happen all over the area we now call the Middle East. In those days it was hardly possible to walk down the street to get a newspaper without seeing a real miracle. But these days, it doesn't happen often. Personally, I only know of one person who witnessed a verifiable miracle first hand. I know this is absolutely, one hundred percent true because I was that person.

Please believe me when I say that what I am about to relate is absolutely true in every detail. I would swear to it on one of those miracle book things they use in court that people swear on.

It was the summer 1958; I was between marriages and living alone while working a summer job on a graveyard shift. I decided to have my car's oil changed and get it lubricated while I went home and got some sleep. About 8 o'clock in the morning of this particular day I left the car at a place about a half-mile from where I lived and walked home. I had gone about halfway when I realized I had left my cigarettes in the car. I was a fairly heavy smoker at that time and debated going back to get them. Instead, I felt perhaps this was an omen or a sign of some kind and decided to give up smoking right then. I continued to walk along the edge of the road, as there was no sidewalk.

Suddenly I heard tires squealing. I looked back and saw a lunch truck coming. It was one of those trucks that go to various places to sell sandwiches and other things for workers at lunch time. It was coming around a corner at high speed so I stepped off the road a little more. As it passed me it hit a bump and one of the aluminum side doors flew open and cigarettes rained down all around me. I tried to call to the driver but he was gone. I looked at the ground and I was standing in the middle of a puddle of sixteen packs of cigarettes. I don’t mean they were a short distance away – they were at my feet. They surrounded me. So I scooped up all the various brands of cigarettes and stuffed them in my pockets and continued walking home.

On the way I had time to think about this. I had just decided to quit smoking when a shower of unopened packs of cigarettes rained down on me from out of nowhere. What was I to do? Of course, I opened a pack and lit up. Who was I to defy this Greater Power?

The only thing I never have figured out is why the creator of this miracle didn’t know what brand I smoked.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 19. 2005



Somewhere around seven or eight years ago I suffered a seizure. It happened while I was asleep in bed and even though I didn’t even fall out of bed I managed to somehow shatter my right shoulder. The long bone of your upper arm that extends from the shoulder to the elbow is called the humerus, though there was nothing funny about mine. I snapped the ball at the end of the humerus off and shattered the cup it fits into in five pieces. Fortunately there was a good orthopedic surgeon who pieced the cup part back together and replaced the ball with a stainless steel one.

Since then there has been constant pain and I am always searching for some magic way to ease it. In this quest I recently had some more x-rays made. These days x-rays can be digital and are transmitted to the doctor via phone lines. I wondered if it might be possible for me to obtain my own copies. As it was simply explained to me, “Certainly, they’re your x-rays. You paid for them.”

So I obtained copies of my shoulder x-rays only because I thought them to be interesting. I thought you might like a peek at them too. Note the white part is the stainless steel prosthesis that was inserted into the humerus.

And from a different angle:

Now that I see it, I can't imgine how anyone would be interested. But, hey, minor details like that never stopped me before.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 18, 2005



A couple of blogs ago I posted a pair of experiences I have had with very young people and the conclusions reached using their limited powers of deduction.

Maybe it has something to do with the many years I spent in the education business but it has always fascinated me to watch little minds thinking the best they can.

It’s fascinating even when those minds are housed in the bodies of people who head up our government.

I take full responsibility.


What the hell does that mean? That and a fist full of dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 15, 2005



It’s been a few years now but I recall reading about a clock that started running backwards for no apparent reason. As I recall it was located in a tower someplace in Washington DC. I never heard of an explanation. That is, until now.

Associated Press has this item in today’s newspaper:
Scientists at the University of Chicago have found that two human genes involved in brain size and development are still evolving -- and, they suspect, mutating to make people smarter.
As I read this it means as time progresses we are getting smarter.
What would happen if time regressed, as it did in Washington?
That explains a lot.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 12, 2005



A few days ago I went online and ordered a new pair of walking shoes.
Today I received an e-mail notice informing me they had been shipped.
At the bottom of the e-mail was this note:

Please note, your order may come in several shipments.

I wonder how they will do that with one pair of shoes.
I wonder if both shoes will arrive at the same time or one shoe will come first and then the other.
If that happens, which do you suppose will arrive first – the left or the right?
Luckily these shoes need no laces or that might be another shipment.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 11, 2005



After my son was born in 1960 he spent much time with his maternal grandmother as his mother and I were both working. She (his grandmother) had many idiosyncrasies and one of them was that, in her terms, boys should not “play with their bodies” or “touch their bodies” and my son was often admonished not to do so.

Soon it was 1963. The Pope had just died and my son was 3 years old. There was much on the television about the papal funeral and once, while watching these ceremonies, my son giggled and leaned over to me and whispered, “The man said they are moving the Pope’s body.” Then he giggled. I tried to not giggle and explained as best I could.

I have giggled many times since then and often think of the day my son and I shared our first “Man’s Joke.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, Ca
September 9, 2005



To me it’s amazing how much children learn in their early years. How they learn it is even more amazing. Much of it comes from observing and deducing. A child’s deductions aren’t always accurate and I’ve run into a few that I thought were hilarious. I’ll toss one in now and then and perhaps it will give you a smile also.

At one time my grandson was about 3 years old and I drove him to pre-school. Each day we drove past a field where a few farm animals were grazing. Some days there were cows and some days there were sheep. Since in-depth conversations were rare with a 3-year old one of us usually made some comment like, “Oh, look at the cows.” That was on the days when the cows were there. Other days one of us said, “Oh, look at the sheep.”

One day there happened to be sheep in the field. I thought it might be nice to explain where wool comes from so I asked, “Do you know what happens to sheep when they get older?”

He replied, “Yes.”

I was somewhat taken aback but asked, “What happens to them?”

He shot back, “They grow up to be cows.”

So, you see the logic was marvelous. His powers of observation were great. But even so, his conclusion was incorrect.

At least I think it was. I never have really thought about it much.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 8, 2005



To me things like this are hard to believe but it's happening to us.
I don't understand why some people think it is perfectly acceptable for them to take their dogs for a stroll and use someone else's yard as a toilet.

First, it's illegal and second, it just isn't a nice thing to do.

We apparently have some neighbors who are unaware of this so
I made some signs and posted them in front of our house.

They came out looking like this:

Then if that doesn't work I plan to go to the second sign:

Then, as a last resort I might try this one:



I suppose I should apologize for the rant I posted yesterday where I took umbrage about some people playing “the race card” in the hurricane disaster. I indicated my irritation when certain leaders came up with the “It wouldn’t have happened if we were white.” bit.
I should apologize.
People who say things like that are not really at fault.
It really isn’t their fault they are simple-minded, half-witted idiots.
They probably were born that way and can’t help it.
So, to anyone I might have offended, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you were born that way.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 5, 2005



They shouldn’t have done that.
I followed the Katrina hurricane situation in New Orleans avidly.
I could not have had more empathy for those poor souls.
It consumed me.
Then they played that goddamned race card!
“They would have helped help us sooner if we were white."
Damn! That pisses me off!
Though things were admittedly mishandled, race had nothing to do with it.
Anyone with a grain of intelligence can see that.
It’s time the so-called leaders rein in and stop trying to make racial intolerance the basis for everything that goes wrong.
For some reason I am reminded of a situation I ran into when I taught in a high school. There was a young man who always seemed to be getting into trouble of one kind or another. I happened to come up on him defacing the walls of the school. When I stopped him the first thing he said was, “At home I’m the only one who speaks English.”
Somewhere along the way he had learned that using that excuse got him out of accepting responsibility for anything.
OK, so you aren’t “white”.
OK, so you've had some bad deals because of that.
But this isn’t one of them so let's knock that off!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 4, 2005